- Paperback: 372 pages
- Publisher: Perennial; Reprint edition (14 February 2017)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9780062292070
- ISBN-13: 978-0062292070
- ASIN: 0062292072
- Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 2.3 x 20.3 cm
- Boxed-product Weight: 295 g
- Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 28,532 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Lovecraft Country Paperback – 14 Feb 2017
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"Lovecraft Country is a genre-bending attempt to address the severe problem of race in modern America, skewering the prejudices of older pulp works while maintaining their flavor, but it's also a compulsively readable horror-fantasy in its own right: timely, terrifying, and hilarious."--Barnes & Noble Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog
"Lovecraft Country is bound to appeal to any reader who wants to delve into the strangeness of our land's racial legacy."--Seattle Times
"Ruff takes us back to the USA of the 1950s, when racism reigned almost unquestioned, and conflates Lovecraftian tropes with piercing dissections of ethics and morals and inequality, thereby confronting Lovecraft's now well-known prejudices through the lens of Ruff's own brilliant imagination and artistry."--Barnes & Noble Review
"Lovecraft Country rubs the pervasive, eldritch dread of Lovecraft's universe against the very real, historical dread of Jim Crow America and sparks fly. . . . Ruff renders a very high-concept, imaginary world with such vividness that you can't help but feel it's disturbingly real."--Christopher Moore, New York Times bestselling author of Lamb and A Dirty Job
"Ruff shows with great cleverness how it's possible for a group of victims to appropriate the very methods used to victimize them, master those methods, and bend them to serve their own purposes."--Locus
"I've heard amazing things about Lovecraft Country by Matt Ruff, and on the strength of his previous books, I'm inclined to expect greatness from him."--Charlie Jane Anders, The Amazon Book Review
"I enjoyed every ounce of Ruff's book."--Tor.com
..".this newer book rewards patience, and nowhere more so than in the passages where it heartbreakingly weaves Hippolyta into the actual events that surrounded Pluto's discovery and naming. Once Ruff took me there, I would've followed him anywhere in Lovecraft Country."--Seattle Review of Books
"Nonstop adventure that includes time-shifting, shape-shifting, and Lovecraft-like horrors ... Ruff, a cult favorite for his mind-bending fiction, vividly portrays racism as a horror worse than anything conceived by Lovecraft in this provocative, chimerical novel"--Booklist (starred review)
From the Back Cover
Chicago, 1954. When his father goes missing, twenty-two-year-old army veteran Atticus Turner embarks on a road trip to New England to find him, accompanied by his uncle George—publisher of The Safe Negro Travel Guide—and his childhood friend Letitia. On their journey to the manor of Samuel Braithwhite—heir to the estate that owned one of Atticus’s ancestors—they encounter both mundane terrors of white America and malevolent spirits that seem straight out of the weird tales George devours.
Atticus discovers his father in chains, held prisoner by a secret cabal, the Order of the Ancient Dawn—led by Braithwhite and his son, Caleb—which has gathered to perform a ritual that shockingly centers on Atticus. And his one hope of salvation may be the seed of his—and the whole Turner clan’s destruction.
A chimerical blend of magic, power, hope, and freedom that stretches across time, touching diverse members of two black families, Lovecraft Country is a devastating kaleidoscopic portrait of racism—the terrifying specter that still haunts us today.
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It’s such an exciting premise, but it just didn’t deliver in quite the way that I had hoped. The story follows 22-year-old Atticus Turner and his family, who discover that they are inextricably linked to a secret organization that harnesses occult powers.
Unfortunately, I had a hard time ever finding a rhythm. The book hops around to different narratives without enough focus on character development, which left me feeling disconnected and uninvested. Rather than fully exploring the many moral complexities at his disposal, Ruff instead delivers a convoluted plot that’s arguably more of an homage to Scooby Doo or The DaVinci Code than Lovecraft.
I loved his idea of applying the cosmic existential dread at the heart of Lovecraft’s stories to the terror of being black in Jim Crow America, but the story lacked the awe and atmospheric tension that one would expect from a Lovecraft tribute. If I’m being honest, there really wasn’t any narrative tension at all.
Such a great concept, but such lackluster execution. If I were rating it purely on the premise alone (and for that AMAZING cover art), it would be a 5-star book, but alas, a stellar premise does not make a great book.
But as a Lovecraft inspired work of fiction? Some debate could be made. There is a feeling, a vibe that hints at a cosmic dread, but nothing on the level as H.P. And for those looking for Lovecraft are bound to be disappoint, at least a little bit, right? And that's okay. Truthfully, I had hopes of seeing more of Lovecraft's world, not just having his work mentioned between a group of unlikely sci fi fans. The supernatural is certainly there, or as they call it "natural philosophy." But what Lovecraft Country really lacked was teeth, especially if stamping the title with Lovecraft's name. Lovecraft Country was like a PG romp into some rather serious issues dealing with race in America and reading the characters all coming out unspoiled seemed disingenuous. Fun, but not realistic.
In summary, Lovecraft Country works as a reminder and a warning regarding the legacy of Jim Crow America. The tension is clearly defined and some parts were hard to get past. The history was spot on and believable. But as a Lovecraft stamped title...it lacked that sense of dread, lurking creatures or not, that ought to come with every Lovecraft inspired book. An argument could be made that the dread was with the characters having to survive the effects of segregation, that the hidden lurking unfathomable monstrosity was in fact racism itself. Still, in the end it felt as if most things had been resolved, more or less. Parts of the book, which was designed in short story increments that connected eventually together, wrapped up too neatly. And the lack of death or any serious permanency felt strange compared to the real threat this part of our history posed to those who lived it.
My rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars.
Impressions: The writing is crisp and clear, and the various stories all work together at the end to set up the book's final climactic scene. The only thing I didn't like at times was that each story delves into a type of magic that could be the subject of a book in its own right, straining my suspension of disbelief. Here you'll find ghosts and interplanetary travel standing out among the backdrop of magic. But once you get over that, the book is hard to put down, and once you begin to see how it's all working together, it makes for a really enjoyable story. I would recommend it to anyone who loves fantasy mixed with historical fiction.
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